Beautiful Bow-Tie! Jeff Breault’s ’34 Chevy Roadster Crowned Goodguys 2022 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year!
Bucking convention can be a bit of a gamble. We like to celebrate the visionaries who try something different and succeed, but we’re often harsh on those who think outside the box and encounter less-favorable results. For owner Jeff Breault and builder Devlin Rod and Customs, going all-in on an uncommon mid-’30s Chevy street rod is a gamble that has paid off handsomely, as Jeff’s ’34 Chevy roadster was named the Goodguys 2022 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year this past weekend at the 24th Summit Racing Nationals presented by PPG.
Breault’s roadster becomes just the fourth Chevy to win the Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year title. The incredible car was more than seven years in the making and stems from Jeff’s longstanding allegiance to GM products. He wanted a Chevy that could match up against the best-built street rods (commonly Fords) and compete for the most coveted accolades in the hot rod hobby.
“When I decided to build a roadster, it had to be a Chevy,” Jeff says. “At the time, I didn’t realize that Chevrolet didn’t build many (1800 in the U.S.) and that there were virtually none to be found. Luck shined on me and I found this car, number 29 of 31 built in 1934 by Holden in Australia.” Jeff then had Eric Black visualize what the roadster might have looked like as a no-expense-spared, track-inspired, open-wheel creation from the glory days of hot rodding.
The build is based on a custom chassis designed and built by the talented team at Roadster Shop. It features an innovative IFS system with machined control arms that look like vintage cast pieces and cantilevered coil-over shocks mounted on the inner frame rails. An equally distinctive four-link rear suspension system with inboard cantilevered coil-overs locates a Winters quick-change rearend. Wilwood disc brakes disguised by drum-style backing plates are mounted behind 16- and 18-inch custom knockoff aluminum wheels machined by Greening Auto Company, which are coated to look like magnesium offerings to help evoke the style seen on ’50s-era Indy racers.
Like the chassis, the LS engine blends modern performance with a more vintage appearance. The 650-horsepower engine was built by Keith and Jeff Dorton at Automotive Specialists, and then Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop designed and cast a tailor-made intake manifold for the stack-style injection that employs FAST EFI controls. The team at JHRS even did custom machine work on the Dart cylinder heads and designed and built custom valve covers to help the LS resemble a WWII-era Merlin engine. The competition influence is enhanced with a Tremec transmission built by Bowler Performance.
The roadster body has been distilled down to its most basic shape, stripped of its fenders and channeled over the frame to create a sleek, streamlined profile. The body lines are enhanced by a custom three-piece hood, new door skins, and a custom split windshield frame supporting a low-profile cloth top by Downey’s Upholstery. Leading the way up front is a custom-machined grille by EVOD that pays homage to the original, framed by sleek bullet-shaped E&J-style headlights. Custom Chevy-style oval taillights are mounted on either side of the license plate on the reshaped rear pan, while the custom fuel tank is mounted inside the trunk. The beautiful BASF ‘Breault Blue’ paint applied at Devlin Rod and Customs is complemented by select touches of chrome by Custom Chrome Plating.
Tavis Highlander guided the design process on the clean cockpit, including the custom-designed steering wheel, gauge cluster, dash insert, and other parts that were machined by EVOD. The result is both classic looking, and also classy in its simplicity. Custom dials from Classic Instruments fill the center-mounted gauge panel. Chuck Rowland Interiors gets credit for the impeccable upholstery work, which features beautiful blue Relicate leather stitched in a simple pattern on the custom bench seat and side panels, and matching square-weave carpet on the floor.
Winning the Goodguys 2022 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year title is the second major honor for Jeff’s ’34 Chevy roadster, which was crowned America’s Most Beautiful Roadster when it debuted earlier this year at the Grand National Roadster Show. Both awards are exclusive achievements and are testaments to the ideas Jeff put in motion, not to mention the incredible work put in by the team at Devlin Rod and Customs and all the other shops involved with the build. It reinforces the idea that bucking convention can really pay off, especially when you back that up with good design, thoughtful detail, and excellent execution. Congratulations to Jeff Breault, Devlin Rod and Customs, and everyone else who had a hand in the build process on this ’34 Chevy roadster, the 2022 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year!
Photos by John Jackson & Damon Lee